This is one of the fun races of the season: non-pointscore, fancy dress for boats and/or crew, sailing on the gentler and less crowded waters West of the Harbour Bridge rather than our usual eastern courses, and followed by the famous BPYC lunch on the green lawns of Quibaree Park, Lavender Bay. What could go wrong?
The radio start went well with no interference this time from competing clubs. However, when Third Mate Chris (TMC) returned to the deck of One Mo’ Time he found that he was generally redundant and was condemned to spend the rest of the race on the foredeck, scrambling from side to side to skirt the headsail as the boat tacked. This amused those at the owner’s end enormously, but TMC explained that he had already done his time there over the years, and was not planning on making a habit of being at the sharp end.
All boats crossed the line properly on a fleet start, rather than a handicap start. Some chose the inside course in the hope of shortening the course, and one chose the inside course because he forgot what the actual course was. Once reminded, One Mo’ Time sailed nicely up to Snapper Island and was advised by TMC not to cut the Island too closely because it can be a bit shallow there. Sadly, Cap’n Carl on Blue Sky was not given the same advice, and went quickly from a first to an aground position. His thoughtfulness in demonstrating the hazard to all following boats was much appreciated, and many took advantage by sailing around both the Island and Blue Sky. Undaunted, Cap’n Carl hit the engine in reverse and Blue Sky was once again underway and chasing Martela. Both headed out quickly after that and had their own race to the finish line between Goat Island and Blues Point, with Martela ultimately claiming line honours, just 53 seconds ahead of Blue Sky.
Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet was about as spread out as five yachts can be, but this only added intrigue as to which yacht would win on handicap, because just maybe the leader hadn’t been far enough ahead to take both line and handicap honours. But no, Martela was just able to beat Celete by 11 seconds on handicap and so took out the coveted double. Well done! Third on handicap was Blue Sky, with Cap’n Carl no doubt realising that glory could have been his but for the Snapper Island shortcut.
As to the best-dressed boat/crew, voted on by all skippers, the winner was Crooz. Clearly, they had all read the secret clause in the Christmas Race instructions, known as the Santa clause, and looked resplendent in their outfits.
Best wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year – let’s all stay safe over the holiday period so we can enjoy more of the same in 2018.